I’m not sure why the Force Awakens two-packs didn’t make it out for #ForceFriday, but they were nowhere to be found. Now, two measly weeks later, they’re starting to pop up at Toys R Us and Target stores, delivering what is in effect Wave Two of both the Episode VII and Rebels toy lines.
There’s a bunch of new two-packs in this assortment, all of which feature at least two figures in the basic/ 5 points of articulation/ retro style. While some of these sets are based on the Original Trilogy and Prequel characters, there were three that caught my attention, based on the current Star Wars properties. Rebels gets a refresh with a new two-pack pitting Alliance leader Ahsoka Tano against her former Jedi master, Darth Vader… and two sets feature Force Awakens characters. The first pack includes the omnipresent C3PO (now with a red left arm– what’s up with that?) and R2D2, and the other of which places everyone’s new favorite astromech droid, BB-8 against some strange desert dwellers dubbed Unkar’s Thug and a Jakku Scavenger.
The Rebels pack is awesome. I was a late adopter to the show, but once I caught wise, I tore through Season One in way less than twelve parsecs, and I was blown away by the Season Two premiere, which finally featured the menacing, terror-inducing Darth Vader in his prime that has been giving me chills since I was a little kid. Rebels has made wise use of many of the iconic Ralph McQuarrie character designs done for the OT Star Wars films, so it makes sense that this Vader would include strong echoes of that more angular design. Sure, all the tropes of the Sith Lord we know and love are here, but the leaner, more extreme design perfectly plays into this being a younger, more sinister version of the classic character.
Many people seem to prefer Ahsoka’s Clone Wars look to her older Rebels appearance, but I find Rebels much more engaging and enjoyable than Clone Wars in general, so even after only a single appearance I am fine with this figure being my go-to Ahsoka figure. She looks really cool, with her two lightsabers and customized Jedi outfit.
These two-packs also deliver five new figures to the Force Awakens collection. C3PO and R2D2 offer no huge surprises, aside from Threepio’s new left arm. They’re solid sculpts of the two droids, and it’s cool to fit them in alongside all the new characters from the upcoming film. It’s the other set, technically a three pack, that offers most of the excitement. Unkar’s Thug and the Jakku Scavenger are, based on what little the packaging has to say about them, a pair of ne’er-do-wells that BB-8 runs into. They’re both weird, neat designs, with steampunk-esque breathing masks and more of the textured robes and bandages that seem to be all the rage when it comes to harsh desert fashion.
The diminutive Scavenger is fun, wrapped head to toe in bandages, offering hints of green, reptilian skin underneath. While he doesn’t look similar to any previous Star Wars alien I can think of, he still feels like something that belongs in this galaxy. The same goes for the Thug, a henchman of another new character we know nothing about, Unkar. This pack also includes a 3.75″ scale BB-8– our first in Hasbro’s line– who sports a nice sculpt and a neck joint with a surprising range of motion. BB is mostly round, though his base is sculpted flat, making it easier for the droid to stand.
What really makes the BB-8 pack interesting, though, is the box art. While most of the Force Awakens packaging simply features portraits of the characters, this set actually paints a scene, with the Scavenger and Unkar’s Thug hovering over BB-8 caught in a net. Was this just an artistic flourish by Hasbro’s art team? Or is this a painting based on a scene in the movie? Either way, it’s a pretty evocative image, and it makes me wish more of the Force Awakens line had similar plot-based artwork.
If you’re looking for the new Star Wars two packs, check Toys R Us and Target, as they’re arriving at both locations. Oddly, while Target is carrying the figures, they do not have a space in the aisle set for them, so many stores are keeping them in the stock room for now. If you have a Target with a friendly employee, you can ask them to pull the figures from the back. Just have them search the DCPI 087-06-3950.